Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $203,700)
The State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program is designed to maintain and enhance each state's capacity to address criminal justice issues through collection and analysis of data. The SJS Program provides support to each state to coordinate and conduct statistical activities within the state, conduct research to estimate impacts of legislative and policy changes, and serve as a liaison in assisting BJS to gather data from respondent agencies within their states.
As declared in Executive Order #06-14, the Vermont Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) is responsible for collecting and analyzing criminal and juvenile justice data, producing general information and statistical reports on crime, offenders, and the administration of the justice system.
The SAC is currently located within the Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS). DPS is both the State Administering Agency (SAA) and the SAC for Vermont. DPS is organized into six divisions: Vermont State Police, Vermont Emergency Management, Vermont Fire Safety, Vermont Crime Information Center, Vermont Forensics Lab, and Criminal Justice Services. The Deputy Commissioner is responsible for overseeing the administration of the SAC.
The Vermont Center for Justice Research (VCJR) was established in 1987 to provide statewide justice research and technical assistance to the legislature, judiciary, corrections, state and local law enforcement agencies, and other justice partners. In January 1991, the State of Vermont entered into a contractual relationship with the Norwich Studies and Analysis Institute (NSAI) to administer VCJR. In July of 1992, Governor Howard Dean issued Executive Order #33-87A expanding the mission of VCJR to include research in juvenile justice. In 2010, Governor James Douglas issued Executive Order #09-10 affirming VCJR as the SAC. However, in early 2014, NSAI and VCJR dissolved, requiring a new Executive Order for the SAC On November 4, 2014, Governor Peter Shumlin signed Executive Order #06-14 designating DPS as the SAC in Vermont.
To successfully fulfill SAC responsibilities, DPS has contracted with the Crime Research Group, Inc. (CRG). CRG is a non-profit organization formed in 2014 with staff from VCJR (the former SAC).
Under the FY 20 SJS project, the VT DPS in partnership with CRG will use funds to conduct two (2) Special Emphasis projects.
In Project (1), the VT DPS and CRG will collect and analyze data on criminal justice system processes from when Law Enforcement interacts with individuals with mental health issues. Specifically, police officers spend hours responding to calls for service from and/or about people with mental health issues, who may or may not be involved in criminal activity. Some police departments have embedded social workers, and some may work closely with community mental health centers. However, currently there is no inventory to identify programs and strategies being used to respond to these calls.
In Project (2), the VT DPS and CRG will conduct a DOC Risk Intervention Services Evaluation. After a multi-year planning period, the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) has made significant changes in the way programs were delivered. DOC adopted NICs Eight Evidence-Based Principles and transitioned from an offense based to a risk-based system; from one curriculum to multiple curricula; from one set dose to dosage based upon assessed risk and needs from multiple programs; and from one provider per curriculum to providers who have attained flexibility in curriculum delivery. These changes were completed with consistent oversight and coordination through a Risk Reduction Coordinator. This model is the only one of its kind that combines several evidence-based/informed curricula to address education, job training, clinical services, and domestic violence. (CA/NCF)